Buy Album: https://akiavel.bandcamp.com/album/v-victis
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Auré – vocals
Chris – guitar
Jay – bass
Butch – drums
1. Frozen Beauties
2. Bind Torture Kill
4. Needles From Hell
7. The Lady Of Death
8. Pentagram Tattoo
9. Mommy I’m Capable
10. Matrimonial Advertisements
Væ Victis, which loosely translates to “woe to the vanquished” from Latin, is the sophomore record by French melodeath band Akiavel. It comes just a year after their debut, V.
‘Frozen Beauties’, the first track and premiere single from Væ Victis is as melodic as it is heavy, with its infectious riffs and corrosive vocal sound setting the tone for the rest of the album.
Layered vocals work to devastating effect here on second song ‘Bind Torture Kill’, the disturbing lyrics exaggerated by prolonged enunciation. Akiavel create some suspenseful moments here in the shape of tension-building pauses and dramatic drumming and bass-work.
‘Zombie’, is the longest and possibly the catchiest of the ten songs as far as the music is concerned, with the melodic parts of the instrumentation countering Auré’s harsh vocal delivery successfully. With lyrics about becoming one’s soulmate intertwined with descriptions of violent acts such as piercing the frontal lobe, it is a pretty sick and twisted track that ends as strongly as it starts.
Throughout ‘Needles From Hell’, the rhythm section, courtesy of Jay and Butch, stabs away under the piercing vocals, the slower drum parts and blast beats employed intermittently, pummelling away at the ears with the impact of blunt force trauma, reinforcing the idea of violence that prevails throughout the record. All these parts are stitched together in a way that reflect the song title well.
Guttural lyrics of the chorus repeated in a clean manner during ‘Comrade’ show the versatility of Akiavel’s front-woman. The growling and singing techniques each communicate very different emotions, which gives track five a transformative quality in terms of what it can make the listener feel.
‘Medium’ shows that the second half of Væ Victis will be just as lively as the first, firing on all cylinders from the get-go. Song six’s upbeat and lively nature makes it a song that is suited extremely well to a live setting, which is something to look forward to when the world opens up again.
The sung lines in ‘The Lady Of Death’ seem more cohesive than on ‘Comrade’, meshing much better with death-style vocals, which becomes more apparent when they are utilised in unison in this instance.
In terms of instrumentation, ‘Pentagram Tattoo’ is one of the more straightforward tracks, gaining its strength from leading with an ethereal voice, using a whispered vocal approach previously heard in the third track ‘Zombie’ again here.
The band’s groove-oriented side is ever present on penultimate number, ‘Mommy I’m Capable’, with Aure’s voice searing the ears while Chris’ guitar melodies soothe.
In ‘Matrimonial Advertisements’, the lines delivered in French give the song an authentic yet eerie touch while giving a nod to their roots, wrapping up the album in a memorable fashion by also including re-inventions of the best bits from the nine previous chapters.
With a great mix of tortuous and supernatural lyrics delivered by crushing vocals over music that is just as powerful, Væ Victis is a delightfully disturbing forty-minute journey of melodic death chaos.